'Retro Me Sathana', Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Ink on paper, dated July 1848, 24.5 x 17.5cm, Bolton Museums, Art Gallery & Aquarium, Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council
The Latin title, a quotation from the New Testament, means 'Get thee behind me Satan.' A priest holds a crucifix to which a young girl is praying, with the devil (Satan) slinking behind on the right. The shield behind them is divided into two halves, black and white suggesting good and evil. The motto below the shield, 'Ex Nocte Dies' (out of the night comes the day) hints that the girl may be a repentant sinner.
Rossetti began an oil painting of this subject in 1847, but abandoned it after showing it to Charles Eastlake, keeper of the National Gallery. Eastlake did not approve of the subject, probably because of its satanic links and Catholic overtones.
This was drawn just a few months before the foundation of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.